A lot of people have asked me how to go about pairing food and wine. I usually say it’s all trial and error and ask more questions to gauge what they’re going for with the dish. Here are a few other tips that may help as you explore pairing food and wine:
- Balance the weight of the food with the weight of the wine. The bolder the flavor of the dish, the bolder the wine should be to stand with the meal. The reverse also applies, the lighter the dish, the lighter the wine as to not overwhelm the flavors of the dish.
- Take into account how your meal has been prepared. Steaming a fish will have a delicate flavor versus a meat that has been grilled. Here you will want to serve a light bodied wine because the steamed fish is a delicate dish. A bold wine with tannins is great for a dish that has been grilled or broiled.
- Dishes packed with citrus, vinegar or other acids will pair well with a wine that is equally as acidic. Normally, a white wine or a red wine that does not have a lot of tannins is recommended for citrus dishes because tannins clash with acidic food.
- Acidic wines pair well with fatty dishes causing the dish to appear less rich. The acidic wine will also heighten the flavor of the meal.
- The sweeter the food, the sweeter the wine. If you pair a dessert with a dry wine, you will notice that the wine will taste tart and thin. Of course, this is not an exact all be all. There are beautiful marriages of sweet and savory that can occur, you just have to explore and be willing to continue to try until you find it. I have found a few myself. (Note: you can check out my previous post: “Leading My First Wine Pairing Class, October 27, 2019” to see some of those marriages.)
- The best partner for a wine with tannins is meat. Meat perfectly smooths out the tannins in the wine. Cheese and eggs aren’t the best of friends when it comes to tannins; probably because, these two are usually considered to be delicate dishes.
Let’s Be Adventurous
Normally, white wine is suggested as a pairing for fish but the next time you are ordering dinner or grocery shopping, I challenge you to get a broiled salmon and to pair it with a Pinot Noir. Notice I said a broiled salmon, not just salmon. I haven’t tried this yet myself so let’s come back and share notes. You can share your thoughts on today’s Instagram post or here on the blog.
I hope you find this helpful as you continue to explore the World of Wines.
XOXO, Smiling Danny